Class #3122

Mat for Abdominal Strength

20 min - Class


You will strengthen your abdominals with challenging variations in this Mat workout by Trent McEntire. He encourages you to tune into your body so you can see where you are initiating each movement. By the end of the class, you will feel the support you need to stand tall for the rest of the day.
What You'll Need: Mat, Triadball, Magic Circle

About This Video


Read Full Transcript

Hi, I'm Trent McEntire, welcome to class. Today's class is going to start on a small ball, and it's important if you've never been on a ball before to mind your balance, and we're gonna use the floor to help stabilize you a little bit, but it's important that you feel really secure and stable on the ball, even though it will roll around a little bit, that you feel like it's safe, so let's find that position, and when you come down onto your back, go and lay down into, like, a shoulder bridge position, and when you lift your hips up, the ball's gonna be placed right underneath your sacrum, so right below your lower back to really support your pelvis, and if you're in the right spot for you, it should feel like your pelvis is on a plateau because the ball will kind of squish down and create that kind of plateau feeling there. You don't want to feel like your pelvis is falling off a cliff and it's causing you to arch your lower back a lot, and you don't want to feel like it's really tucking your pelvis under, it's very flat, so let's have you bring the ball a little more down towards your, yeah, just a little there, that's it, yeah, and you might find as we go, it wants to adjust, like you might shift on it one way or another, so be mindful. You can always correct yourself and get back up on the ball or adjust it if you feel like it's not quite in the right spot, so bring your legs so that they're a little bit apart but close together. Arms are gonna be palms facing down for a little bit of stability there, and we're just gonna rock the pelvis to start, so the ball's gonna stay pretty still, and on the exhale, you're gonna tip the pelvis towards you so that your lower back gets closer to the ball and to the floor and you rock the curl, and then you're gonna inhale as you come back to that plateau, so no exaggeration into an arch yet, just from that plateau to an exhale that rocks the pelvis, and let's use that inhale to come back to that neutral plateau here, and then exhale, rock the pelvis back, inhale back to your plateau, good.

Exhale, rock, now tune into your body and try to pay attention that you're not squeezing your glutes to make that pelvis rock. That's really about the abdominal initiation, so it might even feel like really lazy legs, lazy hips, hanging out, and it also might mean that the range of motion is smaller than you think it should be. Nice, good. Two more like that. Now, on the next one, coming out of your rocked position, tiered plateau, you're gonna roll through one foot, so your leg comes just a couple inches off the mat, and you're gonna set it back down.

The idea here is that you keep the pelvis and the ball as still as possible as that leg lifts, so when that leg starts to come off, you don't have any kind of rolling around going on the ball. You lift, keeping that ball really steady, and now we're gonna go up toward 90 degrees at the hip, keeping the knee bent as well. (loudly exhales) Lower the leg all the way down so it touches. Use that exhale, gather the abdominals, lift the leg up and also feel like the leg that's on the mat has some roots, so you kind of push through that leg as you lift the other leg, so it's not that one leg is by itself, both legs have a role, but the main boss here is the abdominals and that connection, good, and again, lift it up and stay there, another breath in there, lift your second leg up and don't move the ball, good, nice breath like this. On the exhale, just touch one foot lightly, just a little toe-tap touches and then comes back up, real close together and down and touch and back up and down and back up, good, and down.

Now, from here, we're gonna flex both feet. Gonna make sure the knees are bent toward 90 degrees here, touch the heel. (loudly exhales) It takes the leg a little lower. It's a little more abdominals challenge. If that's too much, you can get the foot pointed, but now we're gonna start to reach away from you so the leg actually is gonna go almost straight, not quite, then bring it back in and bend it up.

Other leg down, touch the mat away from you, pick it up, bring it in, and reach it out away from you. Keep that ball as quiet as you can. Bring it back up and away, nice, and bring it back up, one more each side, touch and back up and touch and bring it back up. Bend your knees in a lot, set your feet down, stay on your ball and just take a break there for a second. Good, take an inhale like that, exhale, reconnect your abs to lift one leg up in the air, lift your other leg up to meet it, good, now on the exhale, straighten one leg out away from you.

Good, stay there for a second, make sure the leg that is bent is pulling in towards you a little bit, and the leg that's straight is going away from you, opposition. Now exchange legs and exchange. (loudly breathes) Inhale, exhale, reach, good, and reach, and keep that ball as quiet as you can. Two more each side, one and one and two and two, bend both knees in, flex the feet, take your hips and knees in 90 degrees, hips and knees, so like a chair, tabletop, uh-huh, flex the feet, straighten both legs and the upper 45 kind of diagonal away from you and point the feet out there, bend the knees in, flex the feet and reach out. Push and point the feet, good, bring it in.

Try to keep that pelvis as neutral as you can on that ball so you're not curling one way or the other, you're staying on that plateau that you worked on in the beginning class, reach it out straight and bring it in. If it's not hard enough for you, take your arms and hover them an inch off the mat, yeah, go for it and reach. (loudly exhales) Mm-hmm. (loudly exhales) Good, you guys keep going just like that. I'm gonna show an upgrade over here and have you three reach your arms up to the sky and then back behind you a little bit.

Stay there with your arms, move only the legs. Keep your arms the same, good. So you can pick your variation according to your abilities, and know that if you're on this side doing this exercise, there's an upgrade in your future next time you watch the video. Nice, bring everything back in, arms down by your side, set the feet down and take a break there for a second. Good, nice, alright, now bring both legs back up to that 90 degrees at the hips and knees, and then you're gonna let the legs be open a little bit, and we're gonna drop the feet down, so this is, I'll show you once, you're gonna bounce the legs twice, they go straight up, and you're gonna flex the feet and drive the heels up to the sky.

Point the feet, bounce the knees, (loudly exhales) reach the heels, and push the backs of your legs, pull those toes way back, get that stretch, and we go, (exhales twice) reach, (exhales twice) inhale, (loudly inhaling) and exhale (exhales twice) push the heels, one more, and reach to here, gonna let the legs fall towards you, let your pelvis curl a little bit, enjoy a little stretch there. Good, bend the knees, place the feet down, lift the hips up to remove the ball, roll it down just to re-acclimate once you land, and stay there for a second. It might feel like there's a hole in the floor now that your pelvis has kind of dropped into. That's normal, don't be alarmed. Good, roll to your side toward me and come up to sitting, and we're gonna put the ball aside and grab your circle.

Good, so you're gonna sit with your legs folded in front of you. If this is a challenge for you, you can always take the feet so the soles of your feet are together. If you're on an elevated surface like I'm on, you can also drop your leg or even you can even straddle it like a horse if you wanted to, so the position of your legs is really comfort for you, so if you can sit like this, go for it. Make whatever modification you need to. You're gonna stack your hands on the circle here, find that vertical spine here.

You don't feel like you're over-lifting, kind of straining, you're just not hanging down on it. You find a way to find a nice lift there, and you want the circle far enough away from you that your arms are almost straight. If it's too close, it won't work. On the exhale, you're gonna round your spine, let your elbows bend now to the side, and you're gonna press on the circle, find the abdominal reaction and then bring yourself all the way back up to vertical with arms lengthen and take a breath in, and as you curl the spine up and over your lap, the elbows bend and you're gonna press into the circle and then you bring yourself back up, let your arms lengthen out and exhale up and over, press, mm-hmm, and then bring it back up, nice and tall, arms long. Feel like your head actually travels forward of your pelvis a little bit, so you go over your lap, press wide collarbones there and then bring it back up.

Good, and again, curl, press into the circle, shoulders on your back, not jamming but just definitely integrated on your back so you don't feel like they're earrings again here, nice and tall, come back up. Good, stay here, press the circle first now. Pre-engage the abs, feel like you have a little engagement to start, now we're gonna increase it so it's an upgrade. Curl forward and increase that abdominal pressure, (loudly exhales) yeah, yeah, bang back up, nice, tall, keep the pressure. You're not gonna lose that, yup.

So you have that pre-connection that stays there, exhale as you're going forward, bring it back, keep the pressure of the circle, keep it kind of oval-like, the magic oval, how about that? Curl forward, trademark, copyright, hashtag, bring it back up. One more time, take it down, stay there, release the pressure of the circle and press 10 times, exhale one. They're small, one inch big, two, and three and four, and breathe, five, excellent, each time, six, good, nice and wide in the shoulders, good, that's it, finish your last one and hold it, one breath in there, roll it back up, nice and tall, nice job. Good, bring your legs up in front of you here, holding onto the circle, move forward on your mat a little bit so you'll have plenty of mat behind you.

You're gonna roll yourself back, bring your legs up in the air so you have the arms so the circle's right above your abdominals here. Good, leg is glued together, straighten one leg out and press the circle. (loudly exhales) Bring that leg back in, inhale, other leg, (loudly exhales) bring that leg back in. Make sure you have a deep abdominal connection so there's no back string, make sure you're head's off the ground, yeah, yeah! I'm not up here for my health, I'm up here for your health. (loudly exhales) Nice, good and (loudly exhales) good and (loudly exhales) now switch, (loud breathing) press, press, press, (loud breathing) and stay here, turn to the circles in the outside of the knee, and switch, press (loud breathing) just a small turn, don't get too crazy with how far the circle moves.

Small, just the outside of the knee, (loud exhale) one more, each side. (loud breathing) Center, lower it down, nice, good, set your circle down. Don't throw them at me. Hands go behind your head here, bring your legs up to your tabletop, take a small curl forward, a little smaller than what you had a second ago. We're gonna roll and find a kickstand, so just find where you have your elbow, your ribs are touching, and your legs are gonna reach out and challenge that connection, (loudly exhales) back through center, other side.

Find your kickstand on that side, then straighten your legs, back through center, let's all move away from me on the next one, so you're gonna roll away from me, mm-hmm, straighten the legs, back through center, good, roll to the other side toward me, find it, then straighten, good, back through center. Roll to the kickstand, straighten. (loudly exhales) Good, a little faster. Roll, straight, roll, catch it, straight, roll, straight, roll, yeah, yeah, one more each way, toward me, (loudly exhales) through the center, yeah, yeah! Bring it back to the middle, take a break right there, nice, rest for a second. Yeah, good, roll to your side, come up to sitting here.

You're gonna grab your ball and face me, legs folded. Again, if you'd rather have the soles of your feet together, you can do that, or if straight legs feels better for you, feel free to do that. Good, let's bring the ball on this side of your body, so I'll mirror you. So it's your left arm, but we're here. Good, so you're gonna bring your right arm up, take a nice breath, and we're gonna go mermaid, but I want you to roll the ball.

So take the ball away from you, so it ends up on the wrist. Take a breath in while you're there and then bring yourself back up tall, arm comes all the way down. When the arm moves, keep the spine quiet, just the arm, very clear, good, and then up and over, roll the ball away from you. Let your head arc over with you. Beautiful, breathe into that right side of your body, whole side of the body and return, all the way down, good, and bring it up, and up and over.

From here, lift up an inch or two, turn, face that left leg and drop your body forward. Lift your body up, turn to face toward me and increase your mermaid, brilliant, nice, one more time, lift, turn toward the leg and lift and turn and over. Now from here, bring it up so that you're on your hand, and we're gonna open, and look toward the hand, good, and back through center and over. Roll the ball, (loudly exhales) roll the ball back over towards you so on your hand, your palm is down, and you're gonna open, so no strain here, nice and easy, back through center, and up and over. Good, one more time, to the palm and use that ball, push away with the ball, back through center, finish this one over to the side, lift and turn to face your leg to finish it.

We're gonna come all the way to the middle, head down, roll up in the center, nice, other side, good. Just so you don't walk around half open, we'd better do both sides, good, bring your arm up, roll the ball so when it rolls, you'll end up on the wrist on the ball, placement wise. So if you start too much too close to you, it doesn't quite work, so you wanna make sure you have that palm down so you get to the wrist. Good, breathe in while you're there and then return all the way back. Good, arm by itself, no spine movement, now spine movement, don't want those shoulders getting too creepy there, keep them down and connected.

Breathe into that left side of your body, big breath, and then use the abdominals to return, nice, and down. Start again, arm comes up, good, over to the side, roll the ball away from you, breathe into that, good. Now, we're gonna lift an inch or two, turn to face your leg, and round forward. Drop your head down, good, lift again, turn to face toward me and take that mermaid again, (loudly exhales) and lift an inch or two up and then turn and then go back down. That lift helps keep some pressure off your back, so lift first, then turn, then go back into your mermaid, good, try that again.

Lift first, turn, and forward, nice, and lift, turn, mermaid, yes, now you're gonna come up to the palms down on the ball, so you're gonna rotate open and take your eyes toward that top hand, reach it back there, come back through center, and mermaid over. (loudly exhales) Good, and bring it up. Turn, look toward that arm, keep the hand higher than your head if you can, so you have an upward spiral in that direction, back to center, and over, one more, bring it up. Reach that arm up and out, back to the mermaid, and remember, we go forward to the center and roll all the way up, good, set your ball down. Good, legs stay folded or whatever position you're in is fine.

Arms by your side, palms facing in, just gonna be tracking along the floor here, a little touch to keep you grounded. Go ahead first on the exhale and around forward, (loudly exhales) keep reaching arms forward, mine will come off because I'm on a mat, but yours will stay on the ground. Breathe in while you're there and then the abdominals initiate, bring yourself back up to vertical, nice and tall. Inhale, shoulders elevate on purpose. Nice, exhale and hang, and then you roll the spine forward and you reach the arms out, keep going, nice, wide breath in there.

Let the abdominals initiate the return, nice job, bring it back up to vertical, elevate the shoulders, inhale, (loudly inhales) exhale, they slide down, (loudly exhales) up and over, way up and over your lap there, nice job, beautiful, breathe in there, exhale, the abdominals initiate the return, good, nice, one more time, and up, down, forward. Beautiful, stay here three breath cycles, wide into your back on the inhale, exhale, deepen the abs but stay there, inhale, exhale, last one here, last inhale, use this exhale to roll up. Let the arms be heavy, easy in the hips, just nice and tall, abs ready to support you for the rest of your day, nice job. Good job, you're done! (class applauds)

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4 people like this.
Sure it's midnight.... just didn't want to wait til morning to take this 3rd class. Lol Like the others I found it beautifully cued and almost meditative. Finely nuanced work especially when I consistently use the exhalation to recruit my abdominals. I'd classify it level 1/2 though
2 people like this.
Just read the class description. "stand tall for the rest of the day" can easily be transformed to "stretch and lengthen in bed the rest of the night"! :)
Ha! Joni I typically use it before bed myself!
1 person likes this.
video not working
Bummer J ! Perhaps PA can help?
Trent this is great ! love the simplicity and the use of the small ball and circle together ! You are a wonderful addition to Pilates Anytime ...Thank you :))
1 person likes this.
J ~ I'm sorry you were having trouble with this video. I recommend trying a lower video quality as it may have been due to a weak internet connection. If you continue to have trouble after trying this, please email us at
Thanks Gia Calhoun !
6 people like this.
Love this!! Beautiful cueing. More from Trent McEntire please and thank you!
1 person likes this.
Absolutely, agree with Elyse , great cues and variations with both overball and magic circle. Thanks Trent McEntire
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